The greatest thing about quality, nutrient-variety packed smoothies is the speed with which you can have a whole foods option ready to go, and the way you can plan for your week if you’re a highly active person. This post came about because a couple of teen parent friends had been at their wits end trying to get enough sustenance into their child for their busy schedule, then my tennis coach has been experiencing lower and lower energy and saw the processed food and coffee creeping in for quick energy and needed help. All roads pointed to doing a smoothie post!
Who could do with a good smoothie boost in the day?
- Active teens
- People who train for sports regularly or are on the go and very active/physical in some way in their job
- People who feel by 3 pm it’s a carbs and sweets resistance battle till dinner because you literally can’t get a LIFT.
If you’re super active, you might need two-three of these smoothies a day outside of your 3 meals (I’m thinking gym instructor/tennis coach or training for a marathon type active). If moderately active, 1 as an afternoon pick me up and refuel should be fine. If you’re unsure, check in with your health practitioner or use an app where you can punch in activity and intensity and how much energy you need to support that level for you – everyone’s different and remember, smoothies can be excess energy tricksters for people who actually don’t need additional foods between meals and mostly sit down in their day, so keep in mind your situation and don’t fall into the trap of overeating because ‘drinking food doesn’t feel like food’.
So, like my epic salad framework I wrote up a few years ago helping you cultivate an exciting and varied salad vocab when making a meal out of salad, it’s the same principle for smoothies.
Highly active, busy people require one thing above all: GOOD PREPARATION for executing this plan effectively.
Think of your quietest day and make that the day you shop for ingredients you’re low on and that you prep your smoothie sachets/or whole smoothies frozen into jars, ready for the week and into the freezer.
Then, once your pantry, produce and fridge are topped up, you assemble your ‘smoothie mixes’ for the week so that the only thing you need to do is literally add milk/water and blend. You can get silicone or glass packs to help you with this. The ideal smoothie sachets are silicone which you can get from BIOME HERE, or you could prepare in small glass lock containers like these that you empty into the blender. Whatever works for you but those are two good plastic-free options. This method is perfect if you’re at work and can have something like a Nutribullet / Blendjet at hand to be able to blend where you are.
Another option is you make your smoothies, pop them in a jar with an inch room left at the top, gently put the lid on (not tightly or glass can crack) and then freeze your smoothies in advance.
The key is to do whatever works for YOU because that’s what you’ll be most likely to stick to.
Don’t drink your smoothie too quickly – you want to ‘chew’ it on the way down, which helps you produce saliva which contains important enzymes that help you assimilate the nutrients, such as salivary amylase which initiates the break down of carbohydrate. The act of chewing also gets the stomach acid going so taking your time with your meal on the go is still essential!
Setting yourself up for success
- You have to stock the pantry, fridge, freezer and fruit bowl with everything you’re going to need, once a week. As I said above, pick an afternoon/evening where you can do a good, detailed shop that you write a list for that’s going to work for you – for example, Sunday is my best day for this – and come home and here is what’s key: instead of packing it all away, get your smoothies planned out then and there and then pack the rest away – you’ll be much more motivated than having to pull it all out again later, right? I know you because I know me, hehe!
- Be sure to have one or two ingredients from each group below at hand, to be able to mix and match and keep the variety going when you create your smoothie mixes for the week.
- All you need to do is use one item from each family (and sometimes with something like baby spinach, I do two as I’ll do beet or a few cauliflower florets + a handful baby spinach) and pop them all into your smoothie sachet/containers for the freezer for when you’re ready to use them, or pop them in the blender with your liquid and blend well and serve or freeze to defrost on the go on the day you’ll be drinking it!
Will the world fall apart if you don’t have any herbs that week? Or any fats to add? Nope. Use this as a framework, and break the rules to make things that suit you or work with what you have at the time. No stress!
Here are the ingredient families I choose from most typically along with their approximate serving sizes to make it easy for you to prep.
Pick one ingredient from each family + Add liquid + Blend = smoothie!
Mango chunks (1/2 cup)
Berries – mixed or individual types (1/2 cup)
Frozen ripe bananas (peel before you freeze them and freeze them in halves per serve or whole if need extra energy/sweetness)
Lemon/Lime (1 tbsp / approx 1/2 the fruit, juiced)
Frozen broccoli florets 2-4 florets
Frozen spinach chunks 2-4 chunks/1 inch frozen square x 2., depending on how it comes
Frozen cauliflower florets 2-4 florets
Baby spinach leaves (1 loose cup)
Beetroot 2 inches squared chunk / about 1/4 medium beetroot
Herbs (be sure to rinse them well to avoid dirt grit)
Mint – handful
Parsley – handful
Coriander – handful
Grains, nuts and seeds
Chia seeds (1 tablespoon per serve)
Oats (1-2 tablespoons per serve)
Buckwheat (1-2 tablespoons per serve)
Sunflower seeds or pepitas/pumpkin seeds (1 tablespoon per serve)
Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, macadamia (1 tablespoon per serve)
Avocado (1/4 avocado per serve. You can peel and segment and freeze without the skin into your smoothie mix)
Flaxseed (1 tbsp per serve)
Linseed (1 tbsp per serve)
Coconut cream (1 heaped tablespoon per serve)
Nut butter (1 tablespoon)
If you have trouble feeling ‘full’ for long, or you’re very physical / using your muscles /sporty nourishing yourself with quality protein is essential for satiety and amino acids. Use whatever the recommended ‘serve’ size is for whatever proteins you use.
Whey Protein (grass-fed and finished for whey or collagen products wherever possible – some good options here)
Silken or firm organic tofu (1/3 cup)
Yoghurt (1/3 cup)
Collagen powder 10-20g (I add collagen over and above my protein as suggested by my health practitioner because 1) I’m recovering from chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) and collagen is an essential support in rebuilding healthy tissue 2) Tennis is my favourite sport and it is taxing on the joints so you need all the support you can get! So I typically have 20-30g collagen a day and a good 10-20g in a smoothie before tennis.
Add 1/2- 1 tablespoon of one of the following if required/weaning yourself off sweet drinks and options until you can diminish the amount to 1 teaspoon or none at all.
Stevia/Monk fruit extracts (whatever the packet recommends. Natural stevia powder for example will only be a tiny pinch – NOT a tablespoon!)
Need to avoid all sweetness for health reasons? Look into fermenting your fruits first so that you get the flavour without the sugar. We have the Kultured Wellness ferments available here.
Cinnamon (1 flat teaspoon)
Vanilla Bean paste or powder (1/2 teaspoon)
Nutmeg or cardamon (pinch only)
Cocoa (1-2 tsp for when chocolate ‘fits’ in the flavour picture – like a choc berry combination or choc / banana)
Liquid for blending
1 – 1 1/2 cup milk of your choice or water.
Once you’ve blended your smoothie you might find it too thick – that’s ok. Just add a splash or two more liquid and blend again. Or, if it’s too thin and you want it thicker? Learn how much liquid works for you and add a bit less next time. This is all about you starting to build a good repertoire of delicious, healthful options as an active person who needs additional support nutritionally and for whom smoothies as that additional support, appeals.
A couple of my favourite combinations?
Mango + Lime + Yoghurt + Avocado + Maple + Vanilla Bean Paste/powder + sunflower + Whey Protein + Water
Berries + Avocado + Mint + Collagen + Cauliflower + Baby Spinach + Chia Seeds + Almond Milk
I hope you enjoy having a play around. I’d love to see what you make!
Low Tox. Healthy People. Happy Planet